My friend Jeff Lord’s piece on Reagan is right on target. He was fortunate to serve as Reagan’s political director, while I was a mere just-out-of-college Reagan political appointee to the Veterans Administration in 1986, so he actually had the chance to deal directly with Reagan instead of at one remove. But let me add this: There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind that the left added not one iota to the Reagan-led efforts to revitalize the economy and confront and kill Soviet Communism. There was NO consensus on confronting Communism. The Left did all it could to undermine every one of Reagan’s efforts. ABC joined in in about 1983 with a horrendous piece of agitpro called “The Day After,” warning of the horrors of nuclear war. The Washington Post sent a reporter to watch it with our group of conservative undergrads at Georgetown, sort of in a mode of “let’s see how these bizarre young warmongers react to the actual depiction of the nuclear war they want to fight.” (The actual article didn’t come out too badly; the reporter seemed to realize part-way through that we were neither circus freaks nor warmongers, and instead portrayed us as at least semi-thoughtful human beings.)
I’m sort of rambling, but the point is this: Ronald Reagan gave us all the confidence to rally around the essential truths of the American creed, and to stand up against all the vicious attacks that were aimed at our side. Our friend David Bossie at Citizens United, along with Newt and Callista Gingrich (Note: I blasted Gingrich yesterday for his ethanol stance, but I’ll gladly praise him on the many occasions where praise is due him), did a great film that really captured the battles, and it’s worth a look (follow the link) if you haven’t seen it. Those were days of “great pith and moment,” and we need to remember their lessons.
Everybody keeps lamenting that we just can’t seem to find “another Ronald Reagan.” It’s a fool’s errand. Reagan was sui generis. I feel confident saying that Reagan himself would urge us to rely on that part of ourselves that was inspired by the ideals for which Reagan battled, and to put ourselves on the line continually to keep those ideals alive. As he said in his First Inaugural Address:
It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And, after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.